For me working with paint or ink involves recognising degrees of visceral experience using the viscosity of the medium and colour. When you understand your medium in this way you trust your engagement. Even when the chaos sets in, you bring your entire being to the process and to the moment.

At a certain point the content is no longer primary for me. Content is the foreplay. It is the painting and the act of painting that is all consuming. With each work you gain intuitive knowledge.

To own the way in which you work with your medium sometimes requires undoing what you’ve known or been taught. To recreate a working memory and to find marks that are unique to your own hand, allows you a confidence in your practice.

While I have strong visions of what I want to do, I feel each work involves an element of risk. The first marks allow me to familiarise myself with what is about to begin. The chaos I talk about is both thrilling and foreign each time. But it is where I find the most freedom in life. It is where I am alive.

Each work will reveal itself through the process, I will attempt to pull it out of the chaos, discover more opportunities and better solutions. It requires letting go of preconceived visions and still managing the medium sufficiently to create something that will speak about the ideas.

For me the abstract world does not rely on the same structural laws of written language. Visual language has no boundaries and so I have the ability to work with abstract ideas that are not easily translated into words, sounds yes, but not words. I think this extends our understanding of what it means to be human.

I want to challenge and engage my audience in the way that I am challenged. The intricate threads and the points of reference across the work are like the dots. When you join the dots, you see the bigger picture. It is an obscure ongoing conversation and meditation with deviations, detours and contradictions. It is not a carefully crafted narrative with a beginning, middle and end.

All creative work becomes a biography of sorts. This is a battleground for everything.

Jacqui Colley is a New Zealand artist living in Wellington.